Biloxi lands former Cochran chief of staff

Mayor Andrew “FoFo” Gilich will ask the Biloxi City Council on Tuesday to authorize hiring Key Impact Strategies, a government consulting firm with offices in Jackson & Columbus Mississippi and in Washington D.C. Its president, Keith Heard, is former chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. This is Biloxi’s first engagement for representation of this scope and caliber. Significant gains are anticipated.

“We are fortunate to get Keith to agree to represent Biloxi exclusively among Mississippi cities in the power corridors of Washington and Jackson,” Gilich said. “These are not ordinary times and we can’t afford to miss any opportunity to leverage substantial federal and state funds for economic development projects that will help Biloxi grow and prosper.”

At stake for Biloxi is its share of more than $600 million in BP Economic Damages Settlement money, and hundreds of millions more in RESTORE Act, Tidelands and Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act (GOMESA) grants over the next couple decades. Gilich said landing Heard can reap huge dividends for the City. Gilich proposes a four-month, $40,000 contract with two two-month renewal options.

While serving Cochran as chief of staff, Heard was very involved in the appropriations process, which directs federal spending.  Heard has strong relationships with Congress as well as key department heads in the Trump Administration. A native of Noxubee County, Heard also is experienced working with Mississippi’s political leaders in Jackson. In 2016, he was named to the first “Mississippi Top 50” list of the most influential Mississippians for shaping business, politics and public policy.  Heard was also a Trump delegate to the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Gilich noted that as Cochran’s chief of staff, Heard worked closely with Biloxi in its successful efforts to secure federal and state funding for the new $35 million Keesler Air Force Base entry gate project. “Keith has a history of helping Biloxi,” the mayor said, “and we’re counting on his expertise and contacts to continue that trend on a larger scale.”

Heard said he was eager to carry Biloxi’s message to the capitols in Washington and in Jackson.

“FoFo has an ambitious agenda that will power Biloxi into its next decade of growth. I’m excited about the opportunity to help advance his vision,” Heard said. “A healthy Biloxi economy is critical to the health of the state’s economy. What’s good for Biloxi is good for Mississippi.”
See website for Key Impact Strategies
Meet Keith Heard
See the City Council resolution 
See the complete City Council agenda


News and notes: Lighting of the Lighthouse, Christmas on the Water, basketball

Lighting of the Lighthouse: The Christmas season officially kicks off in Biloxi this evening with the lighting of the Biloxi Lighthouse.  Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m. and the official lighting happens at 6 p.m.  To read more the event and other weekend Christmastime events, click here.

City Desk:  This week’s City Desk podcast, recorded this morning at Biloxi City Hall, focuses on the upcoming Christmas on the Water festivities along with other happenings in Biloxi.  To listen to the program, click here

Basketball registration:  Sign-ups for the Biloxi Youth League Basketball will be Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at the Donal M. Snyder Sr. Community Center, 2520 Pass Road.  The league is open to ages 6 to 15.  To see the flyer, including fee information, click here